Major stock indexes rose toward fresh records Friday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stressed that the Fed shouldn’t overreact to a recent spike in inflation.
The S&P 500 advanced 0.8% after Mr. Powell’s highly anticipated speech at the virtual Jackson Hole conference. If current gains hold, the index would set a record and close above 4,500 points for the first time.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.1%, also putting it on track for a record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7%.
Investors were monitoring Mr. Powell’s speech for clues about when the Fed might start to scale back its easy-money policies. The central bank has been conducting $120 billion in monthly asset purchases to juice the economic recovery, while holding its benchmark short-term interest rate near zero. Such policies have helped propel major stock indexes to all-time highs.
Minutes from the Fed’s late July policy gathering showed that many of the officials thought asset buying could start to slow down by the end of this year. This week, more regional Fed leaders made the case that it was time to pare back the central bank’s stimulus campaign.